Huntington Beach is the most populous beach city in Orange County, California. It was named after Henry E. Huntington, an American railroad magnate and rare art collector. He was also a major financial developer of the Los Angeles area. As you may have heard, I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks exploring California! The day after our flight from Amsterdam arrived in Los Angeles, we decided to take it easy. We temporarily escaped the urban jungle to check out the nearby beach city and its shiny surf folk.
Huntington Beach truly is a positively hipsterlicious place. People cycle around on the most expensive and intensely neon-coloured bikes I’ve seen in my entire life. That’s saying something, coming from a Dutch person (I’ve pretty much seen it all, bicycle-wise). The strikingly fancy bicycles should not come as a huge surprise, especially considering the impressive median household income in Huntington Beach. This affluence has a lot to do with Huntington Beach’s historical connection to the oil industry.
Huntington Beach is famous for its mild climate, extremely long stretch of sandy beaches (9.5 miles or 15.3 km), excellent surfing conditions, and general beach culture. The city is the official owner of the “Surf City” nickname. I’m not kidding, it has even been trademarked. In 2005, the United States Olympic surf team named Huntington Beach its official hometown. The city’s first surf shop (Gordie’s Surfboards) was opened underneath the pier in 1955.
We had a nice afternoon people-watching from the pier. There was a surfing competition going on whilst we were there. The two charismatic surfers in the above photo were waiting to catch the waves and score some serious points. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay long enough to find out who won, but we did get to see some great moves.
Huntington Beach Pier
The most recognisable feature at the Huntington Bach shoreline is the popular Huntington Beach Pier. It is usually buzzing with giddy tourists, serious fisher(wo)men, and ballsy seagulls. The historic pier was constructed before Huntington Beach was even considered an official town. During World War II, the pier was militarised and the U.S. navy installed a submarine lookout post at the end with a heavy caliber machine gun. Nowadays, the pier has returned to its recreational function and is a popular location for TV series like 90210 and The Real Housewives of Orange County (neither of which I have ever watched). You can see a live webcam of the pier over here.
Our visit Huntington Beach was a very welcome first excursion in California. It is a perfect location to escape the rainy onset of the Northern European fall season. It is also an excellent way to forget about your potentially grumpifying jet lag while basking in the generous rays of sunshine. A primary spot for experiencing the glittery American beach culture and witness the swell surfer lifestyle.
I hoped you enjoyed reading about my exciting Californian adventures. If no, then I don’t really know what to tell you. If yes, do not worry: there are many more California-related posts to come in the near future!